divine robes of feminine flesh

by Julie on June 17, 2010 · 19 comments

婦女圖 - Woman

婦女圖 - Woman

Artist: m-louis/takato marui, under CC 2.0

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Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms. – Gloria Steinem

This body, this female body, is divinity all dressed up in robes of feminine flesh.

Too often, way too often, this beautiful garment has been shamed and humiliated, objectified and used, scorned and belittled – the most hurtful damage done by the very one who wears it.

I now experience something different. I know that I, the one that sees all this, is not the one who scorns. The one that scorns is the only self I used to be aware of…the false self that mimics all she ingested and ingests, heard and hears, saw and sees.

The true self, the self that sees this all with such love and compassion knows I am dressed in the finest of flesh.

Yes, flesh. Flesh is divine. This feminine flesh is divine. It robes a home where Spirit and matter are brought together in a miraculous way. Creation has made this humble home for life to come into being by way of this womanly body.

I used to apologize for myself over and over. It was simply a habit borne of some belief that I couldn’t take up space in the world. Somewhere I learned that I didn’t belong to this world that seemed to be a man’s world. A world run by men, where men called the shots. Men belonged. Boys became men, but girls seemed to stay girls in this world. At least that’s what I learned by way of listening and watching as grown men and women would refer to men as men and women as girls, even women who were old and wise and beautiful.

I rarely apologize for myself any longer, but I am still too polite. It’s a hard habit to break. Politeness has its place, but politeness can also be another form of apologizing.

I see women apologizing for themselves over and over. I hear them say such harsh words about themselves. I want to just hold them and tell them what divine and sacred beings they are, just as I longed to be held, while having these loving words whispered into my ear.

When I feel the old familiar pangs of not belonging to this world, I find the nearest tree, flower, furry being or baby…something that reminds me of the immense variety of beauty there is in this world. Something that reminds me of the innocence that is at the heart of life. Something that reminds me that the world is owned by no one and that because it is owned by no one, we all belong to this place. Every living thing belongs to this place. We all reside in this “house of belonging.

When I remember this, I remember what I am. A sacred being. A woman. A creation created to bring sacred life into being in infinite ways.

This being female is delicious. I’ve migrated down from my head to my heart to my belly to my womb. I feel the earth here. I feel my weightedness, the weightedness that connects me to the earth, the feminine to the feminine. It’s as if I am ripe with love, and the juiciness of the fruit weighs me down in a grounding, sensual way.

There is a fierceness here in this womb. A fierce love that protects life at all costs. A fierceness that ensures the life entrusted to this womb will be fed, nurtured, warmed and loved.

I’ve witnessed this fierce love in my daughters as they birthed their babies. Birthing is fierce love in action. Fierceness on the part of life as it charts its own course of labor and delivery, a course the mother has no say in. Fierceness on the part of the mother as she opens herself to the most vulnerable, tender and terrifying unknown she might ever experience. Fierceness on the part of the  baby as it travels the short distance from womb to the world, but a distance that can take hours and days to navigate. It is all born from love, from the deep love of life wanting to birth itself anew in an infinite variety of forms and ways.

I’ve witnessed this fierceness in my daughters as they care for their babies in the day-to-day, doing whatever it takes to make sure their children feel safe, loved and cared for.

I’ve witnessed this fierce love in my mother, as she did whatever it took to raise her three daughters. I witnessed this fierce love in my mother as she fought to stay alive, to stay connected to those she loved even into the last hours before her death.

From this place, from this womb that is a microcosm of the big womb that is in constant creation, I know that the most important ‘job’ I am here to do is to protect and nurture life, all of life, all babies, all children, all men and women, all furry beings, and all the other myriad life forms. It is to live with this awareness, consciously infusing all that I create with this fierce love.

The awareness that I’ve found deep in my womb has brought me into the stark realization of all the ways I haven’t nurtured life, the ways I have added to the pain that earth, this home I belong to, is experiencing. This awareness has shown me that all my choices affect how the human race will continue to evolve, or not, and just how much power we humans have come to posess; power to love and power to destroy.

I don’t have some fancy big job. It’s insignificant and yet completely significant. Each of us has this capacity to bring forth this fierce love into being at this time. The ways in which we bring this fierce love for life into the world may seem small and insignificant, but when we all realize the capacity we have for fierce love, something can shift.

I am one of those older women now. I am not a girl, but a wise woman, a woman that knows she is more powerful than the culture would have me believe. I am a woman robed in feminine flesh. It is part of what it means to live and love in this ‘house of belonging’.

And, you?

Tell me about your finest garment. I’d love to know what it is to be robed in your divine flesh.

This post on self-awareness is part of Dian Reid’s blog challenge, as well as Bindu Wiles #215800 blog challenge.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Louden June 17, 2010 at 10:53 am

Thank you! I spent time last night with four moms whom I have known since our kids were together in 2nd grade. Lots of wonder at where we are now and also lots of sadness for me, because of my divorce and some other family stuff regrets… your post brings love to those regrets, helps me step away from them. I feel the grounded fierceness!

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Jennifer Prentice June 17, 2010 at 11:15 am

Sometimes I read your posts and just marvel at how you weave words together. This is one of those times. Beautiful!

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Strand girl June 17, 2010 at 11:43 am

Fierce love.

Julie, what a wonderful post. Greatly needed today. Thank you.

“This being female is delicious.” (my personal favorite sentence here :)

Can’t say enough about how grateful I am for our connection. You inspire and encourage me.

Love on..

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MaryBeth June 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

absolutely beautiful words and truth
Thank you

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Square-Peg Karen June 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Julie, as always – love, love, love your heart!

Like Strand girl, I am thrilled with the sentence: “This being female is delicious.” I’m also wild about your declaration: “I am not a girl, but a wise woman…” The whole post goes straight to the heart – thank YOU!!

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Alana June 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Beautiful is once again the word that springs to mind.
I have been meditating on this lately. I am finding myself increasingly…hurt, angered, saddened…by so much of what I see and hear around me. I am letting things touch me that I’ve tuned out for years. The glorified sex objects on mud flaps and rear windows. My nieces and daughter (and so many powerful women) being referred to as guys (we aren’t even considered “girls” anymore). The comments on tabloid front pages in the grocery line.
When will women be recognized as not only human but divine? We need to see it in ourselves first – just as you have seen and offered here. I hope that the world my daughter grows into will be one that we have managed to change with our fierce love. Thank you for shining your light in that direction, for helping me turn into my truth.

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Heather Plett June 18, 2010 at 6:18 am

I want to stand on a rooftop and shout “yes, yes, YES!” This has been such a growing awareness in me of late as well. Almost all my life I’ve had bad posture – hunching my shoulders in an attempt to take up less space, to look less proud. But now I’m learning to throw my shoulders back and stand tall and strong.

As they say in the Buddhist tradition, “a strong back and a soft belly”. Standing firm in the world, but offering my softness – my compassion and vulnerability – at the same time.

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Flora June 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Oh gosh. Fierce love. Wow. Thank you!

When I read what you wrote about childbirth and fierce love I was energized in the most powerful of ways. You re-connected me to my child’s birth and I’m very grateful to remember that right now.

I was blessed to experience a planned, active homebirth with great pain with two, perhaps like you, wise women; my midwife who had attended several thousand home births and latterly, my classical homoeopath who had known me for many years.

My labor stalled completely. It transpired that my 9lb 2oz baby’s arm was up the side of her head. However, my homoeopath, who was called in the middle of the night as I labored in vain, knew the actual problem was that I was afraid for my baby to come into the world and urged me through that using fierce love to meet fierce, primal love.

Later they told me that the pain of childbirth is a woman’s gift that makes her walk through fire for her child before they are even born so that the love bond is a fierce (and therefore protective) one. So we are fierce and primal nurturers from the start.

Also, at a tangent! May I add that I feel that in order to honor ourselves as women, we must allow our men to be men and stop feminising them.

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Julie Jordan Scott June 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Fiercely female – how I love, love, love that. I never felt so powerful as when I gave birth to my babies, each one of them – feeling their bodies leave mine as I gave my love offering, my children, to the world.

My body is amazing to behold. I am so grateful for its strength and sometimes I am even grateful for its (what I sometimes see as too much) abundance and curviness.

Mmmm. THANK YOU!

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Susan Reep June 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

This was very interesting. I think the hardest part for women accepting their “house of belonging” is appearance. No matter how hard we try to shake off being overweight, for example, we are still subject to outside influences. I think this post ties in with accepting self. Julie says she loves her body, even in its abundance. That’s fantastic. And it’s a strong woman who can resist and rebuke all the pressures from outside. And I think women alone feel the fierceness of caring for children. Men love their children, without doubt, but they can’t have the flesh experience of growth and nurture and birth. Even now, with my three daughters grown up, having their own children, I feel like “Nobody better mess with my kids. My grandkids either.” Women understand that statement.

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wholly jeanne June 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm

you know, i’ve been thinking about this lately . . . all my life – even when i weighted 98 pounds – i chastised myself for being fat. i look at all the joy i shrugged off, spat on, tossed aside, and i am sad – mostly because i’ve always felt like i took up too much space in the world. i did, however, erase “i’m sorry” from my vocabulary years ago. when i heard myself say to a friend who’d come to visit, “i’m sorry it’s raining.” like i was personally responsible for providing her sunshine and cool breezes.

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Pia Wall January 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Thank you, Julie, for these wonderful words. You formulate what is the essence of being a woman, and I can feel it in my whole wonderful body. “This being female is delicious” can I read and taste so many times. Yes, I am!

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